Beloved Heat-and-Eat Sandwich Lost to the Past

In the later 1970s and all or part of the 1980s I recall a  heat-and-eat sandwich available at convenience stores, truck stops and other places where a refrigerated case offered  various sandwich-types and a heating device on the counter allowing the heating of the vittle(s).

One of the more common names for the particular sandwich I remember was “Longhorn.”

Another name may have been “Wrangler.”

I do not remember the manufacturer but I believe that varied from area to area.

Across the USA the sandwiches’ name varied though I did see Longhorn more than any other name.

The sandwich was a roll-type hunk of bread longer than it was wide. Same with the meat that had that school-cafeteria-like soybean extender-like taste that I actually enjoyed unlike other folks I knew.

Atop the meat was a brown gravy-like sauce that was thick in consistency and applied sparingly but the sandwich was still messy when eaten.

No barbecue flavor…. just a scrumptious brown gravy taste.

I recall the Longhorn / Wrangler did have some mayonnaise applied to the roll that added to the taste in a positive way.

That’s it. Nothing all-that-special but the sandwich was everywhere and conveyed a taste and texture I haven’t found in any other heat-and-eat, microwavable or fast-food sandwich.

Sometime in the mid-1980s or so I noticed that the Longhorn / Wrangler was no longer available. I kept my eyes open but none of the typical places had that sandwich anymore.

I went long-haul trucking a second time so was able to again roam a large area but, nope, no Longhorn nor any of the other same/very similar sandwiches from a different source with a different name.

Performing an extensive Web search, including an image search but nary ANY mention of the Longhorn or a similar sandwich.

Am I the only person within the USA that savored that delectable delight?

As with most convenience store foods the Longhorn was rather high-priced but I cherished the taste and saved it as a special treat due to the price.

If there was only a source for the same sandwich I would order a case or more and have it shipped or go pick it up at the distributor, whatever.

But, maybe the Longhorn is history?

Are my hopes, dreams and desires to be dashed upon the rocks of despair?

The Old Coot is wondering if anyone hereabouts recalls that culinary delight known as the Longhorn and perhaps knows of a Web site where I can, at the least, obtain a pic of my old friend or perhaps even order some!

Or am I doomed to age, wither away. A mere pitiable husk of my former self.Doomed to never again clamp my jaws upon that delectable morsel?



Unceasing effort.

Tireless searching for that small nugget of information.

Posting endlessly at message boards across the Web.

Reading others’ message board posting where folks discuss the past.

Finally, a glimmer, a speck of a mention of a long-gone firm that sold heat-and-eat sandwiches long ago, some using a non-microwave infrared oven to heat the sandwich.

A name was mentioned; Stewart Sandwiches.

(A non-microwave sandwich heating machine used in convenience stores before the wide-spread use of microwave ovens)

Sadly, I am unable to find any specific mention or picture of a Stewart Wrangler or Longhorn sandwich but the Stewart name sounds familiar.

Perhaps with the increasing use of microwave ovens in convenience stores the Longhorn/Wrangler type/style sandwiches did not heat properly in microwaves.

That would explain their disappearing; replaced by sandwiches that did heat up properly in a microwave.


Gone forever? Never to reappear?

I have attempted to make my own Wrangler/Longhorn sandwich but my attempts were not successful.

Kind of close but not quite there.

The gravy/sauce has been the toughest part of the plan.

But I will not quit!


A commenter below has assisted the cause!!! The search for information about those heat-and-eat pre-microwave sandwiches continues and here is the link provided that is informative and interesting:
A BIG “Thanks” to the person leaving that excellent link!!!!
*****UPDATE  January, 2014*****
A message board post the Straight Dope message board has information, opinion, memories and other stuff about Stewart Sandwiches.  I left a message with a link to this blog post at the thread about Stewart’s yummy delights that are no longer available except in our memories.
There’s the link to the message thread.  If you found this blog entry interesting or the general topic itself prompting you to learn more then follow that link!!!!
My long-held question as to the name of the sandwich I once ate with immense joy has been answered.




And thanks to the creator of the Stewart Sandwiches FaceBook page for answering that nagging question.

There are several pics there worthy of looking at so click on the link above and enjoy the show!!!!



Here is the pic that told me the name of the YUMMY goodness I enjoyed so much but, as mentioned earlier in this entry… simply disappeared.  Never to be savored again.



Two menues for Stewarts.



On the left with a price of….. forty-five-cents!!!!  Oh my!!! Oh Longhorn, oh how I miss thee.  And how I miss how much further my wages went back in those long-ago days.


Here is a pic from a site selling old advertising… attic PAPER

The item is already sold and I fear the pic may be removed so here is a copy:





I have no doubt the fellow is staring at the gal’s sandwich, not the babe.  If he wasn’t such a gentleman I just know he would grab the gal’s Stewart sandwich and wolf it down.  Well, maybe he did after the picture was taken.  And I would not blame him for doing so.



And the saga continues…………



Sent via a commenter below we now have a nifty video telling us how to make a Longhorn-like sandwich. I have not tried the recipe yet but will do so in the future. A “Thanks” to our distinguished commenter for offering what may be a last chance to savor the wonderful goodness of a yummy delight from the past whose memory has followed us decades into the future.





10 comments on “Beloved Heat-and-Eat Sandwich Lost to the Past

  1. jeff says:

    Ah, the Wrangler Steak! This was the best thing I ever had, and used to eat them daily when I was working in the 70’s. I kind of lost track of them around 1977. I didn’t think there was another human in the world that remembered these.

    • obbop says:

      I noticed while driving semi-truck across 46 of the 48 contiguous states that the sandwich name varied. The same basic sandwich went by the name Longhorn or Wrangler. I can not recall which areas had which name. Memory suggests that California was Longhorn land but the Wrangler may have been sold in other parts of California. Whatever the name it was a mighty fine dining delight and I ate a lot of the critters. If a new version of that yumminess could be created and sold in a fast-food joint based upon that yummy critter with fries and other stuff folks buy for meals I envision the outlets scattered across the country with people lined up bellowing for their beloved sandwich.

      Oh yeah!!!

  2. Richard Tompkins says:

    I remember the “Chuckwagon”. Don’t remember the ingredients. Seems like it might have been stacked various sandwich meats w/cheese. The cheese would get all gooey and delicious and piping hot. I think the toaster worked on infrared instead of microwave. Sandwiches turned out much better.

  3. Dexter Wong says:

    I was an elementary school student in San Francisco in the late 60s and I bought Stewart sandwiches from a small mom and pop store near the school. They had the oven in the picture, but the sandwiches had names like “beefburger”, “cheeseburger”, and “O’ Boy” (a steak sandwich). They weren’t expensive and were delicious.

  4. Sandy says:

    I went to a private school in VA in the 70’s. We did not have a cafeteria but could buy Stewart Sandwiches for lunch.

    • obbop says:

      You were a very lucky person to have that access to those wonderful vittles that sated my comestible desires during my later years when I had access to the yummy-in-my-tummy Stewart sandwiches… especially the Longhorn. Oh how I wish I could rustle up a dozen or so to munch on this weekend then a bunch more so I could gnaw upon them regularly.

  5. Byron Gardner says:

    I’ve heard that 7-Eleven used to have a sandwich called the Truckstopper that was pretty similar (a hamburger patty on a long bun with gravy, or something like that).

    And here’s a homemade one that also doesn’t seem too far off:

    • obbop says:

      Watched the video. Will give that method a try soon. As with all recipes one can season to taste. My memory tells of a thick consistency to the gravy that appropriate use of thickening agent will hopefully emulate,

      Thanks for the heads-up about the video. Some folks do not read comments so will place the link above where the video should present itself for playing here or folks can follow the video to YouTube where comments can be read and left there.

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